Q: I’ve had to cancel my summer vacation for the second year in a row. Is this going to happen for the rest of my career…because I really need a break!
A: We all know that being a lawyer can be highly stressful. We also know that missing vacations, though not uncommon in our profession, actually decreases productivity and, for lots of reasons, just isn’t smart. There’s always going to be a reason to stay in the office and if you start thinking about taking a vacation by thinking your schedule is not in your control, it won’t be.
So, in the short run, I suggest you practice taking at least a little time off. Take just one vacation day right before or at the tail end of the next 3-day holiday weekend. Target an afternoon and leave the office to take in a movie or do something else where you can disconnect and relax. X off your birthday on the calendar to take time off.
These calisthenics will help you practice following through on taking breaks from work. It takes discipline and prioritization to ensure you actually get away. Once you get better at it, refocus on planning a slightly longer vacation, then add on a few days for the next one.
While client demands may well invade your time away from time to time, you’ll see the value in vacations and be more dedicated to running a more balanced work life, year to year.